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K-Val Hobbies, Buffalo, NY Closing

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K-Val Hobbies, Buffalo, NY Closing
Posted by ACRR46 on Thursday, December 04, 2014 11:40 AM

Bob Schuh, 94 years old is closing his hobby shop after 42 of business at the same location.  His shop was strictly for model railroaders and it will be missed. He said the Internet and eBay are killing brick and mortar stores.  The shop will be open to the end of the month.

Thank you Bob, I wish you well in the future.

Frank

 

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Posted by BATMAN on Thursday, December 04, 2014 11:57 AM

Another one bites the dust. It's too bad, however it sounds like Bob had a good run at it if he stayed around for fortytwo years. If I was ninetyfour I doubt I would want to change the way I did business either.

A train store I would frequent closed and have gone strictly online. The bottom line has improved signficantly for them. The owner is just a young whipper snapper in his late fifties though.

On a brighter note, my wife now orders all her dog food online. A kid in a big truck shows up with it and unloads all those forty pound bags right where they are suppose to go in the garage. My back loves internet shopping.Laugh

Brent

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Posted by BRAKIE on Thursday, December 04, 2014 12:55 PM

BATMAN
Another one bites the dust. It's too bad, however it sounds like Bob had a good run at it if he stayed around for fortytwo years. If I was ninetyfour I doubt I would want to change the way I did business either.

A lot don't but,at 94 its time to permanently turn off the shop's lights.

I do 98% of my "toy" shopping on line since it much faster and cheaper~and  no hassels of driving to and from..

Larry

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Posted by ACRR46 on Thursday, December 04, 2014 1:15 PM

Larry,

I do a lot of shopping on line as well.  However when all I need is a bottle of paint or other basic supplies, the local shop is a lot faster.  Unfortunately those small purchases do not help the brick and motar stores.

Frank

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Posted by csmincemoyer on Thursday, December 04, 2014 1:55 PM

Hate to see a store close, but I've driven up to K-Val many times from Bradford PA and always left empty handed.  I assume was a major player before internet but was always disappointed with their selection.  Any word on what will become of the layout?

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Posted by Dusty Solo on Thursday, December 04, 2014 4:08 PM

At aged, 94 & having run this business for 42 years, this guy has had a fairly good shake really.

Its difficult to imagine that he has, or at least his businees has, fallen victim to ebay & internet sales.

M8st of us have past & been long gone at his age. Let us wish him a long & fulfilling retirement

Dusty

 

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Posted by Dannyboy6 on Thursday, December 04, 2014 7:50 PM

My wife and I visited the store a couple of years ago on the way to Cape Cod from northern Indiana. We bought  bunch of O scale items, and enjoyed the hospitality of the staff. Best wishes to them all!

Dan

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Posted by ACRR46 on Thursday, December 04, 2014 8:19 PM

The layout was completely stripped bare of all buildings, bridges, etc.

All that was left was the track

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Posted by Resin Caster on Friday, December 05, 2014 6:06 AM

I too had been to the store a couple of times in the past. Not a hard place to get to but, still none the less, a bit off the beaten path for out-of-towners. (I always needed a map to get there). Nice little neighborhood shop though. Understanding, at 94, it is time to retire. However, there were a couple of younger gentleman who were interested a few years back in taking the business over. I am not too sure what their financial situation is/was as nothing ever came from it. I do know they wanted to help take the business into the digital age by updating the web site and offering items for sale there. Not sure what ever came of that as I have not seen the guys for a while now.

Kind of sad tho look at it this way but, there is now no good hobby shop in the area anymore. Niagara Hobby is now a shadow of it's former self as far as trains go. The last time I was in there the entire paint aisle (yes, they had an entire aisle devoted to paint brands) was completly bare. There were a few bottles of Floquil left and some of the Poly scale too. ( I do understand that they stopped producing this stuff) but, no signs of any of the other brands that are still going. The track and other "staples" were very scarce and only a figurative hand full of freight cars on the shelves. I can recall the day when an entire aisle, floor to cieling, was devoted to just Athearn.

 

One has to wonder, with the increased practice of doing more and more Pre-order how someone can keep a shop open. If you don't have any mid to high margin items to stock, that will sell, how does a shop owner pay the bills. Another thing to look at too is the requirement from the manufacturers to have a provable store front presence. If I wanted to open a shop in my town, what would I put in it. I can not make a profit from paint and track supplies and there is no "stock" to buy to put on the shelves anymore.

 

The sad thing now is I don't have a hobby shop within 200 miles of me now. K-val and niagara were both a 130 mile round trip that had to be planned out to coincide with visiting family.

 

 

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Posted by BRAKIE on Friday, December 05, 2014 6:39 AM

ACRR46

Larry,

I do a lot of shopping on line as well.  However when all I need is a bottle of paint or other basic supplies, the local shop is a lot faster.  Unfortunately those small purchases do not help the brick and motar stores.

Frank

 

Frank,The nearest shop is a 52 mile round trip so,I add the needed things to my order and by doing that it helps off set the shipping charges.

My last order was mostly supplies like scale lumber,couplers,metal wheels,paint,thinner,micro paint brushes,a pack of decals,#148 KD couplers,washes and two Accurail covered hopper kits.

If there was a shop in town I would have placed my order there but,needing to make 52 mile round trip at full MSRP plus gas and lunch(lunch is needed to maintain my sugar level) I perfer to order on line.

Larry

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Friday, December 05, 2014 9:21 AM

Back when I used to travel for my job, as was my habbit I looked up train shops in cities I visited.  I tried to visited K-val in Buffalo but as I recall, they were closed at the time.  I did visit Niagara - quite a big place - they had a lot of Athearn and other brands too. 

I've visted quite a few hobby shops in my travels and I can say that most of them were shops I made a quick pass through and walked out.  Perhaps thats why many close?  There have been some notable exceptions, which include Tinkertown in St. Louis (not real big but had good stuff), Hawkins in Laffayette Indiana (had everything everyone else was out of, but at full price!), The Original Whistle Stop/nee Bruces in Sacramento and of course MB Kleins - one of the best.  Back when I passed through Denver in the 80's I hadn't heard of Caboose Hobbies yet - hope to make it there some day!  Houston had a couple of good shops I visited when I drove up from Clear Lake where I lived.

Now my LHS is as far as my computer and no grumpy person behind the counter to deal with as has been the case a few times!

Rio Grande.  The Action Road

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Posted by slotracer on Friday, December 05, 2014 10:43 AM

I rarely post but when I do, look out, tends to be a long one, some thoughts back on KVAL and Buffalo Hobby Shop History.......

I do have quite a bit of N scale and maybe will build a layout at some time, been in and out of scales over time and moved between states a couple times over the years, left Buffalo 2 decades ago. Today I am fortunate living in Colorado with Caboose Hobbies in town.

That being said, I've been around enough to have seen a lot of the hobby industry in Buffalo area starting with visits to Spoonley the trainman with my Grandfather in the early sixties, downtown window displays of lionel when shopping downtown was still big, the train displays at the big E savings bank even back to the days when it was in the old original bank building early sixties.

From what I have seen online, Bob and KVAL have become established as an ICON of model trains around christmas on the local new channels much like Spoonley was back in the day, maybe even more so. I still clearly remember Bob first opening up in the early seventies, it was a small room in the back of the Elmwood pattern Works, and me and my friends would ride our bikes from the town of Tonawanda to KVAL, then shoot pictures of the EL and Wabash F7's on the black rock branch with our instamatic cameras in the summer. Over the years the Pattern Works business got smaller as the industrial age in Buffalo declined and KVAL expanded to take over more of the building. Back in the day, Bob, his dad and his son were always there with a cast of regulars, Hugh Gulliume, Bruce Aikman, others I have since forgotten. The place kept expanding, Bob used to host weekly operating sessions at his large home layout, we also went to Bruce's large O scale PRR lines and The model railraod club of Buffalo also Eric Brunger's O scale Ontario Central lines.

KVAL was the true survivor as Stores like Motoring in Miniature, Howard E Ruth  Fields, Blasdell Hobbies the Hamburg Stove shop, Train Barn in Orchard park and others fell by the wayside, KVAL was the keystone of train stores. Many may not know but Fields was a strong shop back in the day, when on Bailey and Berkshire in the Kensington section. When they moved to the East they became all RC. Another Oldie....years before Niagara opened a retail shop out on Union, they were strictly Wholesale. Every year between Thanksgiving and Christmas they would open up on Saturdays at some special location with sales on all the returned, overstock damaged merchandise. Every kind of hobby item from model cars to trains and at dirt cheap prices, sometimes 50-90% off depending. Recall one year they were in the old Dairy at Walden and Wasmuth, another year they held it at the old Pullman car shops off Broadway East of bailey....magical times. Model car kits with faded boxes, 50 cents, atlas remote N switches a buck, some coils burned out but they worked great manually and the price couldn't be beat, flex track a dime a length......

It is amazing KVAL has lived on so long, over all the changes in time and generations, 42 years is some achievment, and at 94 it is a well deserved retirement for Bob. Maybe goes to show that when you do what you love for a living, you live long. Looks like this will leave a big hole in the hobby in Buffalo, I am surpised no one is looking at taking KVAL over.....

Anyone know how the name of the shop came to be.....I wondered but never ever asked.....

 

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Posted by sandusky on Saturday, December 06, 2014 8:17 AM

Wow-

I, like you, used to ride my bike several miles to get to KVAL! I was in high school and didn't have much train money, though. Later on, they did help me get started in O scale with a Red Caboose GP-7 and an Atlas F9A shell custom painted for the Erie. My Grandfather took me to Spoonley's and to Field's (back when they were on our side of town). I loved it all, sad to think those experiences are not available to today's kids.

Mike

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Posted by BroadwayLion on Saturday, December 06, 2014 10:19 AM

NYCT just had a back shop employee retire at the age of 90.

NJT has a conductor who owns a railroad. He keeps the Jersey job because he likes the people, but he does (apparently) help out on his own railroad too.

ROAR

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Posted by slotracer on Wednesday, April 19, 2017 5:32 PM

For all of us who remember K-Val and Bob, appears he passed away on Easter Sunday at 96. Got almost 2 and a half years retirement, lost his wife last summer. I beleive he served on acarrier in WW2 but forgot any details of that some time ago.....

 

http://buffalonews.com/2017/04/18/robert-c-schuh-96-owned-k-val-hobbies/

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Posted by sandusky on Wednesday, April 19, 2017 5:52 PM
I spent many hours in Bob's shop, 3 blocks from my grandparents place...
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Posted by BigDaddy on Wednesday, April 19, 2017 6:20 PM

It's certainly worthwhile to revive an old thread to remember one of the greatest generation.  His ship, the carrier Ticonderoga survived a typhoon and a kamikaze attack.

Yesterday was the aniversary of the Doolittle Raid.  There is only one survivor, his co-pilot who is 100 and something years old, Dick Cole. 

http://www.historynet.com/dick-cole-last-of-the-doolittle-raiders.htm

Henry

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Posted by Doughless on Wednesday, April 19, 2017 7:07 PM

BigDaddy

It's certainly worthwhile to revive an old thread to remember one of the greatest generation.  His ship, the carrier Ticonderoga survived a typhoon and a kamikaze attack.

Yesterday was the aniversary of the Doolittle Raid.  There is only one survivor, his co-pilot who is 100 and something years old, Dick Cole. 

http://www.historynet.com/dick-cole-last-of-the-doolittle-raiders.htm

 

Excellent article.  Thanks for sharing.

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Thursday, April 20, 2017 9:13 AM

Holy necro thread batman!

Rio Grande.  The Action Road

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Posted by ss122 on Friday, April 21, 2017 12:13 PM

Yes, this is the revival of an old thread. I think it speaks to the fondness those of us who lived in Buffalo I had for Bob and Kval. I lived there from 1975-1983 and was a regular at that shop.

 

Rest In Peace Bob, you were a true gentleman.

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